Ask Dave: Choosing a Turkey

Posted on October 30, 2011 by


Dear Dave,

There is a BIG difference in price between organic vs. conventional turkeys.  Is there a big difference in quality or is it the ‘organic hype?’


Las Cruces, NM

 Hello Mandy,

This does depend on your definition of quality.  In my opinion quality means good flavor,  no chemicals or antibiotics, and humane living conditions.

The short answer with this definition:  YES!

While some conventionally grown turkeys may be relatively good quality the majority are factory farmed. These birds require heavy doses of medication to achieve their massive weight under the harsh living conditions. Conventional turkeys are usually ‘self-basting’; meaning they have been injected with a solution during processing.  This solution adds sodium and other chemicals that I’m sure YOU don’t cook with!  This can help cook that juicy feast that your guests will rave about but your body – and that turkey – have paid the price for that.

There is a range in quality of organic birds to consider too; some are produced in large-scale operations where the birds are suffering and simply fed organic feed while others take more steps towards better care.  The best are raised on small (REAL!) farms where they eat a varied diet, are treated well, and are much more labor-intensive to produce.

If possible buy your turkey direct from the grower – check out to find one nearby.  Do your homework and you can find a fresh, local, and  HIGH QUALITY turkey waiting to feed you & your guests.

 Excitedly waiting for a fresh turkey next week,


Posted in: Ask Dave